Earlier this month, a deal was agreed to develop Gaza’s offshore natural gas field, Reuters reports. The deal signifies a boost for the economy of the Palestinians living in Gaza.
The Gaza Marine field is around 20 miles removed from the Gaza coast. Israel’s blockage has restricted its development, even if until 2018, the project was controled by oil major Shell, which gave up its stake that year.
The Israeli government has however stated that it was not aware of any final deal, but Israel has said in the past it supports the field’s development.
A Palestinian official familiar with the talks with the Egyptians stated: “These talks are progressing positively. Once a detailed and final agreement is reached, it will be announced after obtaining the official approvals according to the established rules”.
According to Palestinian sources, the Palestinian Authority is in talks with several international companies including Greek company Energean plc, which produces gas from the Karish field offshore from Israel and French company TotalEnergies, which is meant to conduct the drilling of the Sidon-Qana prospect, offshore from Lebanon. A senior Palestinian official has claimed Europe’s energy crisis has played an important role in moving the negotiations forward and the visit of the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in June was key.
The Gaza Marine natural gas fields have long been seen as a major stepping stone towards Palestinian energy independence but they remained untapped mainly due to Israeli objections and obstacles https://t.co/rU3tsKIeVn
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) October 21, 2022
Also Hamas, a terrorist group who runs the territory, would need to give its blessing. Gaza Marine would hold over 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which offers opportunities to export, as it is a lot more than the locals need.
A few days later, however, Hamas warned the Palestinian Authority against handling the issue of natural gas fields, creating uncertainty.
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